Chia-Hsuan Lin

Associate Conductor & Jack and Mary Ann Frable Associate Conductor Chair

Chia-Hsuan Lin biography 2023-24


Hailed by the Virginia Gazette as “a rock solid” and “animated” conductor, Chia-Hsuan Lin (pronounced “jah-shwen”) delights audiences throughout the world with her trademark energy and command. Appointed Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony in 2016, Lin champions the transformational power of symphonic music through her inspiring concerts for all audiences. This season Lin debuts with Saint Louis Symphony, Rochester Symphony (MN), Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. She also returns to conduct the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Williamsburg Symphony, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and covers concerts with the New York Philharmonic.


Clark Bustard wrote of Lin’s Brahms Fourth Symphony, “I’ve never heard a more compelling live performance than this one.” In another performance, Lin “crafted a Tchaikovsky Fourth that dancers could have danced to,” and “fine details, tone-painting of moody atmospherics, rhythmic fluidity and abundant lyricism came through almost flawlessly.” (Letter V) Other Richmond highlights include Handel’s Messiah, Classics Series, Symphony Pops, family concerts, a side-by-side orchestra of 624 musicians and community members in “Come and Play”, a record crowd exceeding 19,000 for Richmond’s Independence Day Celebration, and a single-day ticket sales record for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert. The former Assistant Conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Lin punctuated the end of her tenure in 2016 “with the command and energy of a soccer star” before a record FWP subscription crowd. ( Her interactive programs invoke her love of collaboration with audiences, with singing, body-percussion, bell jingling, and call-and-response all adding to the joy of experiencing live music together.


An active guest conductor, she has directed Minnesota Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, Richmond Ballet, Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, Academy of Taiwan Strings and Taipei Philharmonic Chorus. As a cover conductor, Lin has worked with the Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, and others, with conductors such as Osmo Vänskä, Jahja Ling, Marin Alsop, Gianandrea Noseda, Stéphane Denève, and many more.


In 2019, Lin was praised as a last-minute replacement in Williamsburg’s performance of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6. Assuming the podium the day of the concert, the Virginia Gazette reported Lin as “leading them through a thoroughly top-drawer performance” in “an exceptionally absorbing interpretation and rendering.”


An advocate for the next generation of diverse musical talent, Lin has collaborated with award-winning artists Paul Huang, Sterling Elliot, Amaryn Olmeda, Kevin Zhu, Inna Faliks, and Eduardo Rojas. Showcasing new music that often transcends traditional classical boundaries, her list of premieres continues to grow with new works by Texu Kim, Stephen Prutsman, Zachary Wadsworth, PaviElle French, Laura Schwendinger, Steve Heitzeg, and Jennifer Jolley.


A passionate educator, Lin has worked with university orchestras throughout Virginia, and previously served as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of Opera at the CCM Spoleto Music Festival in Italy. Innovative projects during her tenure as interim Music Director of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland include unique collaborations with Chris Thile and Michael Stanley.


Lin began piano lessons in Taiwan at the age of three. She majored in percussion at the National Taiwan Normal University while playing with the Taipei Percussion Group, only to have a life-altering incident when she was struck by a car. After this she pursued conducting with Apo Hsu and Mark Gibson, and received her Doctorate of Orchestral Conducting at Northwestern University in Chicago with Victor Yampolsky.


Lin is married to horn player James Ferree in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.